Lively, local Oktoberfest features family fun

See why folks wanting a true Oktoberfest, right here in East Portland, headed out to ‘The Oaks’ this weekend …

Like every great traditional Oktoberfest, the weekend-long Oaks Amusement Park celebration features folks doing the “Chicken Dance” to the music of a lively polka band.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The sounds of live oompah bands emanating from the two “festhallen” at East Portland’s historic, and nonprofit, Oaks Amusement Park, on the third weekend in September, signals it’s Oktoberfest time again.

With the park transformed into a German village, daytime guests see cooking shows, and can shop among craft and import vendors. Kids of all ages can enjoy the park’s thrill rides, carnival games, roller skating, and much more.

East Portland residents George, Lewis, and Francis Bengtson and Theresa Langdon shop at the Oaks Amusement Park Oktoberfest “Merchant’s Village”.

Food vendor Shari Robinette serves cheese fondue and bread in the main Oaks Oktoberfest “festhallen”.

“What I like, most of all, is the food and beer,” smiled the event’s cheerful and vivacious hostess, Oaks Park Events and Promotion Manager Emily Mackay.

“I ‘save up’ all year so I can enjoy the German chocolate cake here,” Mackay told East Portland News. “And, I love seeing our guests in traditional German style clothing – the ladies in durdles, and gentlemen in their lederhosen. Especially when the children are costumed – I think it’s just darling.”

These Sellwood revelers, coming in traditional Germanic dress, are Merllin Keane and Jesse Haas.

Events and Promotion Manager Emily Mackay and competitive world-class roller skating champion Charlie Hamblin dance the tango.

But like so many who come to the Oktoberfest Mackay said she loves the dancing. “I like to polka dance with the gentleman, kids and of course, with our mascot, Chipper the Squirrel.”

Keeping with its family-friendly tradition, Oaks Park features a “Kinderplatz” children’s area, providing games, crafts, children’s chicken dance party, and “Rocktoberfest” with the Radio Disney crew.

Parents are encouraged to bring their children into the festhallens for family fun.

The “Pretzel Toss” is one of the fun “competitions” held in the main festhallen.

And, kids are encouraged to come in the main festhallen with their parents to dine, dance, and take part in the traditional pretzel toss, condiment art, and chicken dance contests.

“People tell us our Oktoberfest keeps getting better every year,” Mackay said. “Looking at all the smiling faces here, I agree!

The kids love dancing with Oaks Amusement Park mascot, “Chipper the Squirrel.”

The 2014 Paulaner Oktoberfest at Oaks Amusement Park continued until September 21 until 7:00 p.m.

Oaks Amusement Park is located at 7805 SE Oaks Park Way, 97202, near the foot of SE Spokane Street and the Sellwood Bridge.

For more information, see their official website: CLICK HERE.

© 2014 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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